Port Coquitlam, British Columbia - It would be safe for me to say that it no longer really surprises me that I frequently stumble across buildings (during the course of a routine Verification usually involving a tenant improvement, or a service call), that have been inadequately tested by their fire protection equipment service provider. What makes this one notable, however, has really nothing to do with the BOGUS inspection, but more with the company behind it. It also now happens to be the subject of a full blown complaint filed with ASTTBC’s Compliance Office, but that’s going to prove to be a rather sticky wicket (as you will soon discover).
The building is brand new (just over a year old) and comprises a four storey walk-up with thirty suites. My company happened to supply the fire alarm system and I was directly involved in the Verification. This makes me VERY familiar with not only the system, but the building’s layout as well.
The system is a Summit SFC-551LDR, one of only two in the entire Lower Mainland (I happened to supply the other as well). It has a Potter PSN-106 booster power supply providing the additional signalling circuits required to comply with BCBC 2012, along with signal isolators in the hallways for the buzzers inside the suites. It also sports a full compliment of data loop isolators both on the floors and in the main electrical room next to the panel (as you can see in these two pictures).
Seeing that it’s fully addressable, you’d expect that the testing technician would be reviewing and recording the smoke detector sensitivity, end-of-line testing (you’ll see some are actually listed in the report I’ve included but the testing isn’t), data loop isolator testing (none are listed in the report), and suite signal isolator testing (again, none are listed in the report). In fact, the report itself doesn’t comply with either the forms an RFPT is supposed to be using (samples of which ASTTBC provides) or the various testing Standards mandated by the British Columbia Fire Code (namely CAN/ULC-S536-04 and NFPA 25-2008).
Remember how I stated earlier that it’s the company behind the inspection that makes this fiasco particularly notable? Well, one of the partners in the organization also happens to be an RFPT.
I know what you’re thinking! “Wait a minute, Frank. What’s so notable about this? You’ve featured many stories where this has been the case.” Right? Well, it just so happens that, while I was doing research into my latest Editorial, I stumbled across a rather interesting web page.
And here, Dear Reader, is where the other shoe drops:
This particular RFPT happens to be a member of ASTTBC’s Fire Protection Certification Board!
That’s correct! Not only does he have oversight of the technicians in his direct employ, he’s also involved in the review and certification of Registered Fire Protection Technician (RFPT) applicants for ASTTBC as well as in formulating policy initiatives affecting technician practice. (In point of fact he also boasts a rather impressive LinkedIN! profile.)
So, here we have a fire equipment service provider (based out of a Lower Mainland community that requires ASTTBC registered technicians to undertake the service of building fire protection equipment), not only involved in the BOGUS annual testing of a building, but in promoting the use of (and filing) equally BOGUS report forms, while one of the managing partners serves on the board of the organization directly responsible for the program which CERTIFIES the very same technicians he employs! TSK!
Here’s what passes for an inspection report with this particular service company (as filed):
Not only is the Captain of the good ship SS ASTTBC ignoring the ice berg warnings (as we alluded to in this feature story), there’s a crew member standing behind him that happens to be steering right at one.
I wish I could jump up right now and shout: APRIL FOOL!
Unfortunately, that’s NOT going to happen.
You can read more concerning technician practices, testing methods, etc. by clicking on:
Our Open Letter to ASTTBC (March 2014 Editorial)
Our September 2014 Editorial
Our August 2014 Editorial
ASTTBC Complaint Outcomes (This actually makes for some pretty scary reading.)
CAN/ULC-S536 DO’S AND DON’T’S - Special Reports
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